Erie is at the gate of an urban revitalization process – a second spring, prompted by its new comprehensive plan, Erie Refocused, which was release last year by Charles Buki’s firm CZB. Since the 1980s, older industrial cities from Pittsburgh to Chattanooga have undergone various degrees of transformational change. The history of where, why, and how these cities grew as they did provide an important backdrop to their present economic, cultural, and social development. In the newly published Jefferson Essay, author Michael Fuhrman argues that public history and a community’s story is a powerful tool for urban revitalization at the grass roots and that capitalizing on this core asset must be a primary part of the recovery strategy. This lecture will discuss the essay’s findings and make a case for why heritage tourism could play a critical role in Erie’s future.
Michael Fuhrman, M.S.A, was born in Frankfurt, Germany, the son of a U.S. Army Master Sergeant. He relocated to his family’s hometown of Erie at the age of seven, where he grew up in Marvintown at 27th and Parade streets, going on to graduate from St. John’s, Academy High School, and Mercyhurst University on Erie’s east side. A linebacker on Mercyhurst’s inaugural football team, Mr. Fuhrman graduated in 1985 with a B.A. in Dance. He spent more than two years touring Europe before returning home as Lake Erie Ballet’s first principal dancer. He earned a second degree in English from Mercyhurst and an M.S. in Nonprofit Administration from the University of Notre Dame. Previously, he has served as the Director of the 1995 Greater Erie Bicentennial, the Director of the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center, and Project Manager for Destination Erie. He was a founder of the Jefferson’s Civic Leadership Academy.